-->
Skip to content ↓

Our History

Duke of Kent School was founded in 1976 by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The School’s name honoured Prince George, the Duke of Kent, (1902-1942), who died in an air crash during the Second World War. The School was established primarily to educate the sons of former and serving RAF personnel. Many pupils were Foundationers, some of whom had lost fathers on active service. The School was formed by merging Vanbrugh Castle School with an existing School, Woolpit, at the Ewhurst site.

  • 1885

    Woolpit House was built

    Woolpit House was built by Sir Henry Doulton of the Doulton pottery family in 1885. Sir Henry’s biographer, Edmund Gosse, wrote that he had been ‘permanently bewitched’ by the beauty of the spot in which he chose to build his house. ‘He announced, with a conviction which he maintained to the last, that there was more beauty of scenery in the parish of Ewhurst than was to be found, equally composed and combined, in any other parish in England. When gently reminded that he had not seen all the English parishes, he admitted it, and said that, after seeing Ewhurst, one would not want to see them.’

    On this inspiring site, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund set out to create a new school with an enlightened approach to education. While scholarship was to be pursued, the School had an inclusive ethos from its earliest days and placed emphasis on personal and social, as well as academic, development. The job description for the first teachers stressed: ‘Music, Drama and Sport together with the rudiments of good manners, courtesy and sportsmanship will be the hallmark of the School.’

  • 1976

    Duke of Kent School was founded

    Duke of Kent School was founded in 1976 by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The School’s name honoured Prince George, the Duke of Kent, (1902-1942), who died in an air crash during the Second World War. The School was established primarily to educate the sons of former and serving RAF personnel. Many pupils were Foundationers, some of whom had lost fathers on active service. The School was formed by merging Vanbrugh Castle School with an existing School, Woolpit, at the Ewhurst site.

  • 1978

    Duke of Kent School became fully co-educational

    Duke of Kent School became fully co-educational in 1978. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund equipped the School with a Performing Arts Hall and tennis courts, covered the outdoor.

  • 1995

    Opening of the new Sports Hall

    The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund equipped the School with a Performing Arts Hall and tennis courts, covered the outdoor pool and in 1995 put up a new Sports Hall.

  • 2006

    Opening of the Nursery

    With changing patterns of deployment in the RAF, boarding numbers at the School fell while the local demand for day places grew.  The School no longer has formal ties with the RAF.  However, we are proud of our RAF roots.

  • 2009

    Expansion to GCSE

    In 2009, responding to parental demand, the school began its expansion to GCSE, adding Years 9 to 11. The expansion to GCSE saw an influx of teachers in every discipline and the facilities upgraded consistent with the needs of a senior school. These included the creation of new Science Laboratories, the Independent Learning.

  • 2010

    Pilot project of iPads

    Duke of Kent School was an early adopter of mobile technology with an initial 2010 pilot project of iPads that was rapidly extended.

  • 2018

    All-weather Pitch

    All-weather Pitch was completed in Summer 2018.